Robert Woodruff Anderson (April 28, 1917 – February 9, 2009) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and theatrical producer. He received two Academy Award nominations for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for the drama films The Nun’s Story (1959) and I Never Sang for My Father (1970).
He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, which he later said he found a lonely experience. While there he fell in love with an older woman, an event which later became the basis of the plot of Tea and Sympathy. Anderson also attended Harvard University, where he took an undergraduate as well as a master’s degree.
He may be best-remembered as the author of Tea and Sympathy. The play made its Broadway debut in 1953 and was made into an Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film in 1956; both starred Deborah Kerr and John Kerr.
You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, a collection of four one-act comedies, opened in New York in 1967 and ran for more than 700 performances. His other successful Broadway plays were Silent Night, Lonely Night (1959) and I Never Sang for My Father (1968).
He wrote the screenplays for Until They Sail (1957), The Nun’s Story (1959), and The Sand Pebbles (1966). He also authored many television scripts, including the TV play The Last Act Is a Solo (1991), and the novels After (1973) and Getting Up and Going Home (1978).
He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1981.